New URCA deadline for number portability
Guardian Business Editor
Published: Oct 30, 2013
A new December 2 deadline for the implementation of number portability was set yesterday by the Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority (URCA), which called on the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) and Cable Bahamas to meet this deadline or face penalties.
After finding that the operators are not prepared to meet the original September 3 deadline for the launch of fixed line portability, which would allow customers to switch voice services from one provider to another without having to change their telephone number, URCA is calling on both companies to now demonstrate “operator readiness” by November 27.
Cable Bahamas and BTC could not be reached yesterday for comment.
Cable Bahamas had previously blamed BTC for the delay in the implementation deadline for portability, arguing that they were prepared to meet the September 3 target.
David Burrows, Cable Bahamas’ head of marketing, described portability as the “cornerstone” of a truly liberalized market in fixed line phone services, and blasted BTC for not being ready after “four years of liberalization”.
Cable Bahamas entered the fixed line market in 2011.
In its release announcing the new deadline, URCA said that each service provider will not only have to demonstrate “operator readiness” by November 27, but will additionally be required to obtain a certificate of FNP (fixed line number portability) readiness by no later than November 29, 2013.
“This certification will affirm that holders would have successfully met all testing requirements in accordance with FNP business rules and to URCA’s reasonable satisfaction,” said the authority.
Number portability will be available to any post-paid fixed-line telephone customer of either BTC or Cable Bahamas, as long as their number has not been barred or suspended.
No charge will be applied for “porting” numbers - that is, keeping one’s number while switching to another phone service provider.
“All porting charges are met by the network service provider that you are switching to,” stated URCA yesterday.
Customers wishing to “port” their number will be required to speak with an authorized dealer of their chosen new phone service provider and request to change to their service, but keep their phone number. They will then be required to fill out an application form in addition to a “porting request form”.
The entire porting process “will be completed by the fifth working day” after a request is inputted.